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Full text of "My Country And My People"

THE    ART   OF    LIVING                    315

yards and the scholars5 studios, and in the arrangement of vases,
the essential idea is the beauty of simplicity. Many of the
scholars* studies are made to look out on a small clean court-
yard,, which is the very embodiment of quietude itself. In the
middle of that courtyard stand just two or three of those
rhythmic and perforated rocks, bearing the mark of sea-waves,
or some rare specimens of fossilized barks, and a small bush of
bamboos which are so loved because of the fineness of their
lines. Perhaps in the wall is a fan-shaped window with glazed
tiles in bamboo pattern as bars, giving just the merest suggestion
of the existence of a world of wheat fields and farmers* houses
outside.

The principle of surprise which Shen Fu outlined for the
poor scholar's small residence holds good in a rich man's home
garden. The English word "garden" gives an entirely erron-
eous idea of the Chineseyuan^ for "garden" suggests a lawn and
an infinite variety of flowers, altogether too prim and tidy to
suit Chinese taste. The Chinese yuan suggests first of all a wild
landscape, perhaps better arranged and more artistically
planned than nature, but still a bit of nature itself, with trees,
mounds, creeks, bridges, a rowing boat, a patch of vegetable
fields, fruit trees and some flowers. Dotted in this natural
landscape are the human structures, the bridges, pavilions,
long winding corridors, irregular rockeries, and sweeping roofs,
so perfectly belonging to the scenery as to become a whole with
it. There are no even-cut hedges, no perfectly conical or
circular trees, no symmetric rows lining avenues as if in battle
formation, and no straight pavements—none of all those
elements that contribute to make Versailles so ugly in Chinese
eyes. Everywhere we see curves, irregularity, concealment
and suggestion.

No Chinese mansion allows an outsider to look through the
iron gates at a long drive, for that would be against the prin-
ciple of concealment. Facing the gate, we see perhaps a small
courtyard or a mound giving no idea whatsoever of the expan-
siveness of space inside, and leading one step by step into newer
and bigger views, in a continual series of surprises and astonish-
ments* For we wish to show the small in the large, and show the
large in the small. There is little possibility of gaining a birdV